Monday, February 1, 2010

First Assignment for Tin Salamunic's Design Class

"What is Design?"

     I believe that design is a part of everything around me: the alarm clock that wakes me in the morning, the label that hugs my bottle of orange juice, the chair that supports my body and disperses my weight to the ground, the golden lamp that stands tall on my desk, the room I come back to after the day is done, and the laptop computer I type this paper on. Every material thing that I am dependent on began as an idea and was designed by someone who intrinsically brought it to life. In the Bible, it is taught that God created the Heavens and the Earth. In that sense, God is the Supreme Artist, and all of the universe and it's entrails are apart of God's grand design. Within the range of phenomena I have witnessed on this planet, design begins with Nature. The tectonic plates of the Earth's crust, the cycle of the seasons, the anatomy of plants, and the genetic makeup of animals & human beings, all combine to compose the living, breathing Design of Nature.
     Design in relation to architecture, has been synonymous with humanity on Earth. Each time-weathered block of the Great Pyramids in Egypt, the Doric columns of the Parthenon in Greece, the  Gregorian style White House in Washington DC, the Eiffel Tower of France, the Guggenheim Museum of New York, the Frank Lloyd Wright houses, the bulging domes of the Taj Mahal in India, the astonishing newly renovated Cary Street Gym, and the Franklin Terrace Building are all marvels of architecture that shape the world around me. Design is aesthetically the thought, the action and the result.
     The branch of fashion design has been with me ever since I thought I had fashion sense. Back before I knew how to dress myself, my parents would be the ones who picked out my clothes. Looking back on my baby pictures, I was a hip youngster with my high-top fade haircut, my blue corduroy Osh-Kosh overalls, and my colorful selection of dress shirts. From elementary school to the middle of high school, I was heavily peer-pressured and influenced by the fads of that day. When it came to fashion, I found myself struggling to fit the styles:  either I dressed like a thug (long colored or white tee shirts, a pair of shoes to match each color, baggy jeans, and fitted baseball cap) or like a “preppy white boy”(extra-snug polo shirt, some moccasins, and fitted straight leg jeans).
     My concept of fashion was very limited to what my peers opinions were but after my 2nd year in high school I noticed that buying more clothes was getting expensive and that most people didn't care about what they wore. And being that I fit the “artist” stereotype, I began to experiment with various color schemes in my wardrobe. To my surprise, nobody condemned me for wearing an outfit like: a black logo tee, blue jeans and red shoes. To this day I am still in awe. I don't quite understand how random articles of clothing can work together in agreement, but being at Virginia Commonwealth University I see it everyday. Design is more than just matching clothes by color; it is a product of incessant experimentation and alchemy.
     I have come to believe that design is the sea of controlled chaos that people knowingly and unknowingly submerge themselves in on a daily basis. As a Communication Artist, I hope to learn more of Design beyond its dictionary definition. I want to be able to see it the advertisements tattooed across the places I go, I want to hear its genius in the music and poetry of our times, I want to taste it at that quaint restaurant hidden in the quiet of Richmond, I want to think it when I am kicking out a thumbnail sketch for a future piece of work, I want to feel it in the steaming lights of the galleries of First Fridays, and I want to live it until my rusty soul is done with my body and checks out into the Great Art Studio in the sky.

-Robert Gibson Jr.